New WUSTL recruitment guide explores community’s rich diversity

Deciding to uproot and move to a new job and city can be stressful. Washington University faculty and staff have joined together to make that decision easier for prospective fellow employees with a new publication detailing the diversity of the St. Louis region.

Our Guide: The Insider’s Guide to Washington University in St. Louis and Our Surrounding Community is a full-color booklet that features 18 faculty and staff members talking about the assets of the university and region.

The Office of Government and Community Relations produced the 64-page booklet, in part, with a Diversity and Inclusion Grant from the Office of the Provost.

It is available to deans and search committees to distribute to prospective faculty and staff members.

“In the recruitment of new people to the community and especially people who might be from diverse backgrounds, we can help them make an important connection to the diversity at Washington University and greater St. Louis,” says Leah A. Merrifield, executive director for academic-civic engagement. “This guide captures information that is often unspoken.”

Merrifield led a team that won a Diversity and Inclusion Grant to produce the guide.

The booklet is, overall, a positive look at the university and region. But those interviewed were frank about aspects that need improvement, Merrifield says.

“It’s not a sugar coating. People talk about the challenges of living in St. Louis,” she says. “Professor Andrea Friedman talks about the biases you can encounter. Professor Bob Hansman talks about what people believe, incorrectly, about this area being unsafe and encourages people to get out there and explore.

“We thought we needed to be honest if we wanted to authentically recruit people and have it be a good fit for them,” Merrifield says.

She notes that the guide has elicited positive reactions.

Departments are encouraged to request multiple copies of Our Guide, which was also underwritten by the WUSTL offices of Government and Community Relations, Public Affairs and Human Resources.

To request copies, contact Jane Miller at (314) 935-5752 or